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If Oliver Kahn can crown a series of majestic performances by defying the formidable firepower of Brazil's three Rs - Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho - there is every chance he will return home the proud owner of FIFA's new Golden Ball, for which all four have been nominated.
The concession by Germany of only one goal in their six matches to date is not entirely testimony to the soundness of their defence.
Even then, though, there was adversity to be overcome.
Soon after signing for Bayern, Kahn suffered a serious knee injury that kept him on the sidelines for five months.
One of the local English-language newspapers here in Japan was surprised to discover that, off the field, he studies economics and plays the stock market as a hobby.
"For Kahn," the newspaper said, somewhat tortuously, "stock investment is not a means of making a fast buck, but represents a tight defence in terms of livelihood as in football."There is no doubt, though, that Kahn has his head screwed on financially.
That is because he puts every part of his being into his own game and he cares deeply about winning and losing. Hard work, perseverance and patience have been required throughout Kahn's career, beginning at his local club, Karlsruhe, whom he joined in 1976 at the tender age of seven.He went to the finals of the 1994 World Cup as reserve goalkeeper to Bodo Illgner, but did not make the starting line-up.He eventually won his first cap against Switzerland in 1995, but had to be content with the role of reserve again at the finals of Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup.This is a player who does not hold back his feelings on the pitch, though he is more controlled than he used to be.Kahn howls his delight to the skies as loudly as he does his disappointment.